“A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.”

-Gary Hamel

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Advocating for improved hospital safety…

We talk often about your willingness and ability to get out there on important issues and do what needs doing. Well we are proud to share today that you are once again doing just that as we prepare to standardize the approach and training we use for placing central lines. Placement of central lines, which are basically IV lines put into large veins so you can easily give strong medicines, typically in critical-care situations, are a necessity in our hospitals. The norm today is the physician manually identifies the vein using anatomic landmarks and inserts the line. But there is good evidence that the noninvasive eyes of ultrasound can, when used properly, help avoid complications that can include dangerous punctures. This is a big concern for us because of our patients and families of course and because of the reality that this complication rate is a quality measure for Medicaid.

With an innovative course…. That teaches a consistent and safer way to place central lines

Well starting super soon, we are going to help residents and fellows learn to maximize the benefit of ultrasound to reduce central line risks. Pretty much everyone is welcome for the multidisciplinary grand rounds at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 28 where Dr. Matt Lyon will show us all how it is supposed to be done. In fact, Dr. Lyon, one of our graduates who is now vice chair in emergency medicine and director of emergency and clinical ultrasound, was making a video to show just this week. Then, by invitation, about 300 of our residents and fellows – from Surgery, Anesthesiology, Medicine and Family Medicine – will come to the anatomy lab to learn by actually doing with our invaluable cadavers. Lots of work and innovation went into this effort, which we think is among the first of its kind in hospitals and medical schools nationwide. More to come on this but we have to say now how very much we appreciate the initiative of Dr. Lyon; fellow MCG graduate, emergency medicine leader and Chief Patient Safety Officer Dr. Phillip Coule; and our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Dellsperger in making this happen. Super job.

We celebrate the legacy of Bowdre and Meta Phinizy… Who made our Charbonnier chairs possible

The summer months are seriously flying by so we wanted to highlight another upcoming fall event that will truly be a super celebration. Oct. 18 we’ll be honoring the legacy of Bowdre Phinizy and Meta Charbonnier Phinizy, whose generous gift in honor of Meta’s father, Leon Henri Charbonnier, marked the inception of MCG’s very first endowment. Leon Henri Charbonnier was born in France in 1837, lived in Charleston, S.C. during the Civil War, and later moved to Georgia. He created the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Georgia, would serve as chair of the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, and later as its acting chancellor. He moved to Augusta to be near his children in 1898 after the death of his wife. Son-in-law Bowdre Phinizy was a super-accomplished individual as well, an Augusta native and Princeton graduate who served in the Georgia House of Representatives and was owner and editor of the former afternoon paper, The Augusta Herald, and owner of The Athens Banner-Herald. Mr. Phinizy would establish the Charbonnier fund through his will to support special faculty positions at our medical school and honor his father-in-law. Bowdre Mays – the great nephew of Mr. Phinizy – and his wife Lynn will be co-hosting the October event. This family’s visionary support continues to leave a lasting legacy. We simply would not/could not be MCG without such amazing support that enables growth from good to great and beyond.

Dr. Yutao Liu finds a genetic mutation… In the most common form of glaucoma

Back to awesome August for a moment, we note this week as well the significant contributions of our Dr. Yutao Liu. This vision scientist and human geneticist is taking on glaucoma, a disease of increased pressure inside our eyes that often silently and progressively damages our vision. His knowledge of the disease and genetics along with his exhaustive review of a federal database of nearly 4,000 patients with glaucoma and even more healthy controls, revealed a variation of a gene, miR-182, in those with the most common form of glaucoma. No doubt the gene typically has a big role in helping our eyes with the continuous process of refreshing the clear, nutritive fluid in the front portion of our eye. His fascinating work shows that the variation impairs the ability of the eye to clear fluid, which, as you can imagine, is a big problem when fluid is always supposed to be turning over. His goal is to find a better way to treat this insidious disease. Dr. Liu also just got a grant from the Bright Focus Foundation that will absolutely help. Check it out here.

Athens campus has great support… From physicians and hospitals across Northeast Georgia

As we wrap things up, we wanted to share a few super-cool facts that Dr. Nancy Hockley, chair of the Clinical Sciences Department at our Athens campus, shared when she paid a visit to home base in Augusta earlier this week. This second four-year campus in partnership with the University of Georgia – which opened to students in 2010 – now has 71 full- or part-time faculty, another 565 volunteer clinical faculty, which is truly terrific, and 23 full- or part-time staff. The volunteer faculty up that way include 111 emergency medicine docs, 166 internists and related subspecialists, 71 surgeons and related subspecialists and nearly 50 obstetricians-gynecologists and pediatricians each.  Per usual across our super state there are nearly 25 affiliated hospitals that also are opening their doors to our students. This includes many we have not previously mentioned in these writings such as Clearview Regional Medical Center in Monroe, Stephens County Hospital in Toccoa and Habersham Medical Center in Demorest. We’ve said before and are privileged to say again that the support provided by physicians and hospitals across the four corners of our state is truly inspirational and Georgia’s public medical school could not and would not want to educate the next generation without them and you. Thank you.

Upcoming Events

Aug. 19 – Hope you showed your colors today for the start of a new fun Friday tradition of wearing blue and grey at our still-new university, check out more here and share pictures of your first Spirit Friday using #jagswag.

Sept. 1 – MCG Alumni Association Athens Regional Reception, home of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Ellison, 6 p.m.

Sept. 8 – Augusta University 6th Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit, Marriott Convention Center. Register here.

Sept. 14 – Career Development 101 for Clinical and Teaching Faculty, 1:15-4:30 p.m., Room GB 1120D in the beautiful Harrison Education Commons. Participants will learn more about teaching strategies to promote learning in clinical and other settings, identifying campus resources related to scholarship and research; and describing a timeline for promotion and expectations for tenure and non-tenure tracks. Cosponsored by the MCG Office of Faculty Development and the AU Educational Innovation Institute. RSVP to EDI@augusta.edu.

Sept. 17 – Alumni Association 125th Anniversary Celebration, Marriott Augusta, 6 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. dinner.

Sept. 24 – Augusta University Day of Service.

Sept. 26 – Medical Student Research Symposium, noon to 2 p.m., Harrison Commons.

Sept. 26 – Student/Resident Research Symposium, 5-7 p.m., second floor of Russell Hall, Augusta University – University of Georgia Medical Partnership.

Sept. 27 and 29 – Recognition of Dr. Hervey Cleckley, the famed former MCG psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of psychopathy. The showing of “The Three Faces of Eve,” 5:30 p.m., Sept. 27, Harrison Commons, GB-1110; Lecture, “Dr. Hervey Cleckley: The Medical College of Georgia’s Renaissance Man,” with Maj. Gen. Perry Smith, 5:30 p.m., Sept. 29, Harrison Commons, GB-1110, reception follows in the Harrison Commons lobby.

Sept. 30 – Ice cream social for medical students and residents, noon-1:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Oct. 1 – The 2nd annual Pink Pumpkin Party, a family and community event by the Georgia Cancer Center to raise breast cancer awareness and education and honor survivors. Check out the Pink Pumpkin Party and the Pink Pumpkin giving page for more information.

Oct. 6 – Alumni Association, Albany Regional Reception, Doublegate Country Club, 6 p.m.

Oct. 13 – Alumni Association Savannah Regional Reception, Savannah Golf Club, 6 p.m.

Oct. 18 – Reception and plaque presentation honoring Bowdre Phinizy and Meta Charbonnier Phinizy, whose generous gift in honor of Meta’s father, Leon Henri Charbonnier, marked the inception of MCG’s very first endowment, 5:30 p.m., Harrison Commons.

Oct. 25 – Alumni Association Rome Regional Reception. Coosa Country Club, 6 p.m.

Nov. 4 – Body Donation Memorial Service, 1 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

Nov. 5 – White Coat Ceremony, Bell Auditorium, 3 p.m.; reception to follow at the Old Medical College building.

Have fun out there!

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